When I first started out as an architect in Long Beach, several older architects made a comment to me that has stuck with me over the years. Their comment was basically: “No one trusts an architect who is under 50 years old.”
At the time it was said, I more or less dismissed the comment, thinking that it was a funny thing to say, and not necessarily true. I was confident in my abilities as an architect and in the training I’d received and the schooling I’d gone through. I wasn’t convinced that age should have any bearing on whether or not my clients trusted me to do my job well.
Now that I’ve passed the half-century mark myself, this sentiment makes a lot more sense to me. It’s not that I believe a certain amount of wisdom is magically imparted at an architect’s 50th birthday celebration. It’s more a matter of understanding the value of experience when it comes to architectural design, now that I have more than a couple of decades of it under my belt.
Older architects, a group in which I may now be included due to my age, have seen a lot. We’ve been around long enough to see how buildings age. We know what things break down easily and what products stand the test of time. We have a better ability to recognize which design ideas are passing fads and which ideas have real merit.
In addition, in my years as an architect in Long Beach, I’ve been able to cultivate relationships with people who can help ensure the successful completion of my design projects—people such as officials in the City of Long Beach’s planning department, general contractors, interior designers, and others. These relationships have been built over time, through many years of working together and developing a sense of trust and mutual respect. My professional network is much stronger than it was in my younger years, and our clients definitely benefit from it.
None of this is to say that I completely agree with the “Don’t trust an architect under 50” comment. I had plenty of clients who placed their trust in me long before my 50th birthday, and who were glad they did. And I know many talented young architects doing great work, who I would trust to design my own home or place of business. I just think that being on the other side of 50 has given me a new perspective on the value of experience in the architecture field.
If you’re looking for an experienced architect in Long Beach, I’d love to talk with you and hear about your upcoming project—whether it’s a commercial or residential design project. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Grisafe Architecture in Long Beach to set up a consultation.